Siliguri, Aug. 6: The Medical Council of India has approved the proposal of increasing the number of MBBS seats at the North Bengal Medical College and Hospital from 100 to 150 from the academic session starting this month.
NBMCH officials said they had written to the council last month after the Union ministry of health and family welfare had allowed select government and private medical colleges to increase MBBS seats.
“Last month, there was a notification from the MCI asking medical colleges to apply for more MBBS seats. We had applied immediately. The state government also wrote to the MCI on the issue. Normally MCI teams make several visits to see if teachers and infrastructure are adequate (for adding seats). There was no such inspection here and we got a letter of confirmation yesterday allowing us to increase MBBS seats from 100 to 150 for the 2013-2014 academic session,” said Anup Kumar Roy, the NBMCH principal.
He added that the last time the MBBS seats were increased in the hospital was 11 years ago. “In 2002, the NBMCH had got MCI’s nod for increasing the MBBS seats. The seats were increased from 50 to 100.”
NBMCH has 23 departments and post-graduate courses are offered in 14 of them.
“We just completed the second counselling session. For them (students who were admitted after the first and second rounds), the session will start from August 12. Students in the newly-added 50 seats will be admitted after the third counselling session, the date for which is yet to be announced. They are likely to join classes from third week,” Roy said.
Hospital sources said with the increase in the number of students, there had to be a corresponding increase in other infrastructure.
“We have around 200 teachers and they are adequate for 150 students. Our main concern is regarding classrooms, laboratory and hostel for the additional students. We have ample land but it will take time to build the necessary infrastructure. For now, we have decided to increase the number of classes per day. We have also decided to convert the existing common rooms in the hostel into dormitories till a separate hostel comes up,” Sabyasachi Das, the NBMCH superintendent said.
“Now we have 599 sanctioned beds for patients at the hospital and the required number for 150 students is 700. But we have nearly 900 patients admitted to the NBMCH at any given day,” he added.